INEC budget: National Assembly joint committee to resume deliberation

INEC budget: National Assembly joint committee to resume deliberation

The National Assembly Joint Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to meet on Monday, August 27.

The Punch reports that the committee will decide whether to approve the virement request of N143 billion contained in President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly or the entire N189 billion requested by INEC.

A member of the committee who spoke on the condition of anonymity said nothing has changed so far.

He said: “We have yet to arrive at a conclusion as to whether it is the President’s N143bn, which he requested to be vired from projects in the 2018 budget or the entire sum of N189bn being the total requirement for the 2019 elections.

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“It will be the main focus of Monday’s meeting. If you recall, the Minister of Budget and National Planning told us the last time that the executive was comfortable with anyone we chose, it shouldn’t be an issue.”

On the issue of reconvening the National Assembly, the lawmaker said: “You can’t talk about reconvening the National Assembly now when the committee on INEC has not concluded its work let alone the committee on appropriations.”

Another lawmaker who also spoke on the condition of anonymity said those calling for the reconvening know it’s not feasible.

He said: “Most of those talking about reconvening now are playing to the gallery because they know it’s not feasible.

“Take, for instance, the INEC Committee has not concluded its assignments. When it concludes, it will pass its recommendations to the Committees on Appropriations. For those in appropriations to do a thorough job, they will have to invite heads of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies where these monies will be vired from; this is not something you can do in one or two days.

“I don’t know of tomorrow but as we speak, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations (Committee, Senator Dajuma Goje), who is also a member of the APC, went on pilgrimage and has yet to return."

Meanwhile, the chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), on Wednesday, August 22, said that the federal government could fund next year’s general elections by invoking the doctrine of necessity should the National Assembly fail to pass the budget.

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The Nation reports that the overriding necessity of elections and survival of democracy supersede the National Assembly’s powers where democracy is threatened. gathered that Sagay, in a statement, said while the power to approve the budget is only a single item in the Constitution, democracy and its processes, including elections, are what the Constitution are about.

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